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Why Tesla Beats Mercedes In Customer Loyalty

Originally published on EVANNEX.

A showdown between Tesla Motors [NASDAQ: TSLA] and Mercedes-Benz surfaced in CIO Magazine recently, pitting the two automakers against one another to see who wins the battle for customer loyalty. Former research fellow at Forrester, Rob Enderle, compares the two companies and finds that Tesla beats Mercedes-Benz even though Mercedes-Benz is perhaps the oldest large car company (and an extremely prestigious one) and Tesla is the newest relatively large car company. “If you measured customer loyalty you’d likely find that Tesla, which is modeled after Apple, has the higher score.” To that end, Tesla was rated #1 for customer satisfaction by Consumer Reports, with 98% of Tesla owners stating that they would definitely buy the car again.

Image above: Mercedes-Benz C350e via Mercedes-Benz. Image below: Tesla Model S via Tesla.

So, how is Tesla earning such customer loyalty over Mercedes, the renowned industry mainstay? Enderle explains: “The reason is because Tesla better instruments its cars and customers, it generally knows before the customer does if the car has a problem, it comes to the customer to fix it (you don’t drive to them). In addition, it will even let customers upgrade their car with current technology for a fraction of the price of a new car, whereas, Mercedes forces customers to buy a new car to get the new technology.”

Image via Tesla

What other signposts demonstrate a changing of the guard? He compares their factories: “When you see the Tesla factory you see a factory that is ultra-modern, highly mechanized and very clean. The Mercedes factory, in contrast, is antiquated, doesn’t appear to have strong contaminant control, is highly manual and you have to literally step over puddles of oil on the floor.”

And comparing the passé Mercedes gull-wing doors (first invented in the 1950s) with Tesla’s much-improved, all-new Model X falcon-wing doors, he writes: “Tesla X doors auto-open and close, and they are articulated so they can open in tight areas… Tesla did them right and Mercedes did them wrong even though Mercedes had decades of experience Tesla lacked. Mercedes had to discontinue the [gull wing] doors again in their current car leaving Tesla as the only firm shipping a Mercedes innovation.”

Image via Kyle Field | CleanTechnica

Enderle notes: “Mercedes Benz has a huge line of cars, massive distribution and global reach. Tesla has two cars … a massive [stock market] valuation, Apple-like customer loyalty, and it gets hundreds of thousands of people ordering cars over a year before they are available. They are well along the path of doing to the car market what Apple did to the smartphone market.” He concludes, “Tesla has aggressively instrumented its customers and engages with them more deeply than Mercedes… if the bigger older car companies don’t come up to speed quickly they may, like the old smartphone vendors did, wonder where their market has gone.”

[Editor’s note: There are many reasons beyond the above why Tesla beats Mercedes in customer loyalty, but that’s a nice start.]

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Written By

Matt is all about Tesla. He’s a TSLA investor, and he loves driving the family's Model 3, Model S, and Model X company cars. As co-founder of EVANNEX, a family business specializing in aftermarket Tesla accessories, he’s served as a contributor/editor of Electric Vehicle University (EVU) and the Owning Model S and Getting Ready for Model 3 books. He writes daily about Tesla and you can follow his work on the EVANNEX blog.


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